Commitments and Contingencies
|12 Months Ended|
Apr. 30, 2014
|Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]|
|Commitments and Contingencies||
Note 10. Commitments and Contingencies
Line of Credit
The Company maintains a line of credit with a bank, up to a maximum credit line of $250,000. The line of credit bears interest equal to the prime rate plus 0.50% (overall interest rate of 3.75% at April 30, 2014). The line of credit requires minimum monthly payments consisting of interest only. The line of credit is secured by all business assets, inventory, equipment, accounts, general intangibles, chattel paper, documents, instruments and letter of credit rights of the Company. The line of credit is for an unspecified time until the bank notifies the Company of the Final Availability Date, at which time payments on the line of credit become the sum of: (a) accrued interest and (b) 1/60th of the unpaid principal balance immediately following the Final Availability Date, which equates to a five-year payment period. The balance due on the line of credit as of April 30, 2014 and 2013 was $244,175 and $250,000 respectively. Since the earliest the line of credit is due and payable is over a five year period and the Company believes that it could obtain a comparable replacement line of credit elsewhere, the entire line of credit is included in long-term liabilities. The unused amount under the line of credit available to the Company at April 30, 2014 and 2013 was $5,825 and $0 respectively.
The Company leases office space for its corporate headquarters in New York, New York on a month-to-month basis with monthly rent payments of $3,816 per month.
The Company leases office space for its developers in Dieppe, NB, Canada on a month-to-month basis with monthly rent payments of $1,675 per month.
The Company leases office space for its Denver, Colorado location under a seven-year lease agreement commencing September 15, 2008. The operating lease granted four initial months of free rent and had a base monthly rent of $6,526 commencing January 15, 2009. Thereafter, the monthly rent escalates 2.5% annually over the base year.
On October 4, 2012, the Company entered into a three-year lease agreement for its call center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Company occupied temporary space at this location until moving into the leased space on February 1, 2013, the commencement date of the lease. The lease requires rent payments of $4,491 per month during months 4 through 12, $4,601 per month during the second year, and $4,710 per month during the third year.
The following is a schedule by years of future minimum rental payments required under operating leases that have initial or remaining noncancelable lease terms in excess of one year as of April 30, 2014:
Rent expense for the years ended April 30, 2014, and December 31, 2012, and four months ended April 30, 2013 and 2012, were $210,977, $140,783, $64,724, and $44,828, respectively.
From time to time, the Company enters into employment agreements with certain of its employees. These agreements typically include bonuses, some of which were performance-based in nature. As of April 30, 2013, the Company had entered into five employment agreements whereby the Company was obligated to pay an annual performance bonus ranging from 50% to 100% of the employee's base salary based upon the achievement of pre-established milestones. Such annual bonuses were to be paid one-half in cash and the remainder in shares of common stock of the Company. As of April 30, 2014, no performance bonuses have been earned.
On October 1, 2012, the Company retained two investor relations firms agreeing to pay one firm $50,000 a year for two years and issuing it 200,000 shares of common stock, having a fair value of $70,000 based on recent sales of Units. The second firm was retained for one year with a fee of $5,000 per month. The second firm also received 100,000 shares of common stock and 100,000 five-year warrants exercisable at $0.60 per share, having a fair value of $43,000 based on recent sale of Units (See Note 12).
From time to time, we may be involved in litigation relating to claims arising out of our operations in the normal course of business. As of April 30, 2013, there were no other pending or threatened lawsuits that could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on the results of our operations and there are no proceedings in which any of our directors, officers or affiliates, or any registered or beneficial shareholder, is an adverse party or has a material interest adverse to our interest.
On February 11, 2013, HEMG and Mr. Spada sued the Company, certain senior management members and our directors in state court in New York seeking damages arising principally from (i) allegedly false and misleading statements in the filings with the SEC and the DOE where the Company disclosed that HEMG and Mr. Spada borrowed $2.2 million without board authority, (ii) the alleged breach of an April 2012 agreement whereby the Company had agreed, subject to numerous conditions and time limitations, to purchase certain shares of the Company from HEMG, and (iii) alleged diminution to the value of HEMG's shares of the Company due to Mr. Spada's disagreement with certain business transactions the Company engaged in, all with Board approval. On November 8, 2013, the state court in New York granted the Company's motion to dismiss all of the derivative claims and all of the fiduciary duty claims. The state court in New York also granted the Company's motion to dismiss the duplicative breach of good faith and fair dealing claim, as well as the defamation claim. The state court in New York denied the Company's motion to dismiss as to the defamation per se claim. On December 10, 2013, the Company filed a series of counterclaims against HEMG and Mr. Spada in state court of New York. Discovery is currently being pursued by the parties.
On November 21, 2013, HEMG and Mr. Spada filed a derivative suit on behalf of the Company against certain former senior management member and our directors in state court in Delaware. The Company is a nominal defendant. The complaint is substantially similar to the complaint filed in state court of New York, except that if successful, the Company will receive the benefits. On February 28, 2014, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. In July 2014, the court heard oral argument and reserved decision.
While the Company has been advised by its counsel that these lawsuits are baseless, the Company cannot provide any assurance as to the ultimate outcome of the cases. Defending the lawsuits will be expensive and will require the expenditure of time which could otherwise be spent on the Company's business. While unlikely, if Mr. Spada's and HEMG's claims in the New York litigation were to be successful, the damages the Company could pay could potentially be material.
The Company's subsidiary, Aspen University Inc. ("Aspen University"), is subject to extensive regulation by Federal and State governmental agencies and accrediting bodies. In particular, the Higher Education Act (the "HEA") and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the DOE subject Aspen University to significant regulatory scrutiny on the basis of numerous standards that schools must satisfy to participate in the various types of federal student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA. Aspen University has had provisional certification to participate in the Title IV programs. That provisional certification imposes certain regulatory restrictions including, but not limited to, a limit of 1,200 student recipients for Title IV funding for the duration of the provisional certification. The provisional certification restrictions continue with regard to Aspen University's participation in Title IV programs.
To participate in the Title IV programs, an institution must be authorized to offer its programs of instruction by the relevant agencies of the State in which it is located, and since July 2011, potentially in the States where an institution offers postsecondary education through distance education. In addition, an institution must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the DOE and certified as eligible by the DOE. The DOE will certify an institution to participate in the Title IV programs only after the institution has demonstrated compliance with the HEA and the DOE's extensive academic, administrative, and financial regulations regarding institutional eligibility and certification. An institution must also demonstrate its compliance with these requirements to the DOE on an ongoing basis. Aspen University performs periodic reviews of its compliance with the various applicable regulatory requirements. As Title IV funds received in fiscal 2013 represented approximately 26% of the Company's cash revenues (including revenues from discontinued operations), as calculated in accordance with Department of Education guidelines, the loss of Title IV funding would have a material effect on the Company's future financial performance.
On March 27, 2012 and on August 31, 2012, Aspen University provided the DOE with letters of credit for which the due date was extended to December 31, 2013. On January 30, 2014, the DOE provided Aspen University with an option to become permanently certified by increasing the letter of credit to 50% of all Title IV funds received in the last program year, equaling $1,696,445, or to remain provisionally certified by increasing the 25% letter of credit to $848,225. Aspen informed the DOE of its desire to remain provisionally certified and posted the $848,225 letter of credit by the DOE on April 14, 2014. The DOE may impose additional or different terms and conditions in any final provisional program participation agreement that it may issue (See Note 2 "Restricted Cash").
The HEA requires accrediting agencies to review many aspects of an institution's operations in order to ensure that the education offered is of sufficiently high quality to achieve satisfactory outcomes and that the institution is complying with accrediting standards. Failure to demonstrate compliance with accrediting standards may result in the imposition of probation, the requirements to provide periodic reports, the loss of accreditation or other penalties if deficiencies are not remediated.
Because Aspen University operates in a highly regulated industry, it may be subject from time to time to audits, investigations, claims of noncompliance or lawsuits by governmental agencies or third parties, which allege statutory violations, regulatory infractions or common law causes of action.
Return of Title IV Funds
An institution participating in Title IV programs must correctly calculate the amount of unearned Title IV program funds that have been disbursed to students who withdraw from their educational programs before completion and must return those unearned funds in a timely manner, generally within 45 days of the date the school determines that the student has withdrawn. Under Department regulations, failure to make timely returns of Title IV program funds for 5% or more of students sampled on the institution's annual compliance audit in either of its two most recently completed fiscal years can result in the institution having to post a letter of credit in an amount equal to 25% of its required Title IV returns during its most recently completed fiscal year. If unearned funds are not properly calculated and returned in a timely manner, an institution is also subject to monetary liabilities or an action to impose a fine or to limit, suspend or terminate its participation in Title IV programs.
On June 30, 2013, the Company filed its calendar year 2012 compliance audit with the Department of Education. As a result of the audit findings, the Company recognized that it had not fully complied with all requirements for calculating and making timely returns of Title IV funds (R2T4). In November 2013, the Company returned a total of $102,810 of Title IV funds to the Department of Education.
Delaware Approval to Confer Degrees
Aspen University is a Delaware corporation. Delaware law requires an institution to obtain approval from the Delaware Department of Education ("Delaware DOE") before it may incorporate with the power to confer degrees. On July 3, 2012, Aspen University received notice from the Delaware DOE that it is granted provisional approval status effective until June 30, 2015. Aspen University is authorized by the Colorado Commission on Education to operate in Colorado as a degree granting institution.
During 2005 through 2011, the Company advanced funds without board authority to both Patrick Spada (former Chairman of the Company) and HEMG, of which Patrick Spada is President (See Note 15). Mr. Spada and HEMG have denied taking any advances (See "Legal Matters" above).
Letter of Credit
The Company maintains a letter of credit under a DOE requirement (See Note 2 "Restricted Cash").
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef